By Steve Staal
September 2009

Criteria for feed interventions

The outline below is meant to detail some thinking on two sets of issues:
a) Characteristics of the Feed/Fodder technology and how it is managed
b) Characteristics of the Context, environment in which any Feed/Fodder technology is applied.

The Context attributes can be used to map, project, and characterize the variety of locations and settings in which feed technologies may be considered.

The interaction of these two sets of attributes, defined around any specific feed/fodder technology, will determine the appropriateness and success of that technology.

Attributes of feed/fodder technologies or interventions

Feeding objective

Milk production vs fattening vs herd growth vs calf feeding

Type of feed/fodder technology
Planted fodder/feed vs crop residue
High quality supplemental vs low quality high biomass
Self produced vs obtained through exchange or purchase (or some element of it)
Feed production vs feed improvement, mixing, enhancement (urea treatment, etc)

Management characteristics
Individually managed vs collectively managed production
Farmer propagated vs dependence on germplasm system (eg seed system)
Batch production vs continuous production (if planted)
Intercropped, or margin cropped vs sole stand (if planted)
Limited season production vs all year production
Amenable to large scale production (feed lots, etc)
Risk of theft, animal damage to fodder

Productivity characteristics
Bio-mass productivity/yield
Tolerance to drought, salinity, poor soils, temperature (riskiness?)
Quality, digestibility, palatability
Ease of propagation

Cost characteristics
Labour intensive vs non labour intensive (labour costs per unit nutrient)
Timed/hassle labour vs flexible labour requirements
Unit cost of production and its variability (aggregate attribute)
Dependence on external materials (plastics, chemicals) and proportion of total cost

Attributes of determining factors

Resource base quantity, quality, variability and availability
Land value, scarcity, fragmentation
Labour value, scarcity
Private land access vs public/communal land and fodder access
Land quality, fertility, salinity
Agro-climate and rainfall, variability
Access to irrigation, water

Market environment
Livestock product/animal prices locally and variability
Market access, volume limits and reliability, and growth trends
Transport and communication infrastructure

Feed resource environment
Local and seasonal availability and cost of feed materials
Local availability and cost of other materials (plastic, etc), complementary inputs
Value of/ returns to competing crops

Household resource base
Education, management skills of practitioners/users
Gender issues, and traditional child/adult labour roles
Cash requirements, credit availability
Producer risk aversion profile